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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  December 21, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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captioning funded by cbs and ford >> pelley: havana is a city of antiques, a living museum of old models, chevy and ford, marx and lenin. so it fits the pattern when an 83-year-old dictator clothed in fatigues made the historic announcement. there are a lot of reasonable americans who argue you're caving into the castro regime. >> we haven't gained anything in 50 years with this refusal to have a dialogue, embargo, all that. that hasn't gained anything. >> it's time for a change! republicans and democrats alike. >> stahl: retiring republican
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senator tom coburn has harsh parting words for his congressional colleagues. >> i see him make decisions every day that benefit their career rather than the country. and that's what is so sickening about washington. >> stahl: coburn has been called the godfather of the tea party, doesn't believe in global warming, and is a stanch conservative on government spending. so what does he think about president obama? >> i just love him as a man. i think he's a neat man. i'm proud of our country that we elected barack obama. >> i remember a few years ago, i was asked to do an interview for "60 minutes," i was too scared. >> rose: you said no. >> i didn't know what to say. and now when i was approached, i thought now, yeah, this makes sense. i have something to say now. >> oh my god. what have i done? >> rose: she says it through her new film "wild." she plays a broken woman
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seeking to reclaim her life by hiking a punishing 1,100 miles alone on the pacific crest trail. >> hey, where am i? >> kroft: i'm steve kroft. >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. >> safer: i'm morley safer. >> whitaker: i'm bill whitaker. >> rose: i'm charlie rose. >> pelly: i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." husband: wife: ready. ♪ we wish you a merry christmas ♪ vo: everything apple, all in one place. expert service. unbeatable price. best buy.
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surprised the world on wednesday reestablishing relations with cuba in a deal guaranteed by the vatican. it happened because of accidents of history. a second-term president doesn't have to worry about losing florida. for the first time in 2,000 years, the pope is latin american. and the last castro seems somewhat more inclined to evolution than revolution. it's been half a century since communism staked a beachhead 90 miles from the united states, half a century since the island was primed as the detonator in a countdown to nuclear holocaust. once the world held its breath over cuba. but when we arrived there this past week, we found a nation still waiting to exhale. havana is a city of antiques, an island in the flow of time.
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wealthy societies spend fortunes to recreate what comes naturally to poverty-- a living museum of old models still running beyond their time: chevy and ford, marx and lenin. >> pelley: wednesday, it seemed to fit the pattern that news of change would come from a classic, an 83-year-old dictator clothed in fatigue. even the music stopped at havana's university of the arts, where visiting teachers from chicago were interrupted so students could be told their future would not be the past. ( applause ) a cuban and an american clasped hands.
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orbert davis and mark ingram of the chicago jazz philharmonic just happened to catch the downbeat of history. >> davis: it was just a joyous occasion of experiencing change and something that they've been hoping for, for a very long time. >> ingram: and the cheering, some tears and, you know, just amazed and happy, not knowing what really that means other than communication with the u.s. >> pelley: before now, communication sounded like this. cultural exchanges have been permitted for years. and the chicago musicians were here on one of those programs. we asked these young cuban performers what they would call their generation. one of them said, "how 'ibout te window generation? because now we can see the future." ernesto, how do you imagine your life will be different than that of your parents? >> ernesto lima: i don't imagine. i'm sure that it will be different.
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so it would be better. so better. and cuba will be going, a great place. >> pelley: give me some specifics of things that you think will change in cuba. >> lima: i think the economy. and this is important thing because we can get a better instrument. we can get computers, internet. >> pelley: you'd like to be online? >> lima: yes. yes. >> wendy ora: it's another perspective. >> pelley: another perspective on the world if you're communicating with the united states. >> lima: i think we will be more of close to the freedom that you always are talking about your country, and the freedom that we want to make. >> pelley: but "freedom" remains a distant dream. among the government graffiti is the slogan "socialism or death," which could be read more as a warning than a call to patriotism. stalin would be comfortable
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behind the wheel of this 1950's autocracy-- the last big brother model in the west. housing, medical care and education are all free. but look at what's missing from this picture. this has to be the only harbor in the islands that has no boats. the government restricts ownership because many cubans would sail away. every neighborhood is organized under its own committee for the defense of the revolution. the cdrs hold neighborhood meetings and every cuban has to attend. a lot of them hate that. because the government runs just about everything, 80% of the cuban people are government employees and they get paid pretty much the same-- somewhere between $20 and $50 a month, it doesn't really matter much whether you're a street sweeper or an accountant. they also get one of these.
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it's a food ration book. it covers things like eggs and milk and meat and rice. the food that is purchased with these ration books is virtually free, but it's supposed to last a month, and any cuban will tell you its lasts about ten days. stomachs may grumble but not too loudly. hector maseda gutierrez went to prison for criticizing rations, pay and medical care. and yet he was willing to do it again with us. >> gutierrez ( translated ): i have always been and will always be faithful to the truth, even if it harms me. >> pelley: what is the truth that needs to be known? >> gutierrez ( translated ): what happens in cuba every day, the way people suffer, the shortages, the deprivations. the government simply does not care about what happens to the cuban people; it only cares about its own interests. >> pelley: he's a man of extraordinary courage. a nuclear engineer by training, maseda gutierrez started an opposition news service. he was jailed in 2003 in a
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roundup of 75 dissidents. his wife led a protest movement that cubans called "the ladies in white." in 2011 maseda gutierrez was released into her arms, but eight months after this picture she was dead. it was a sudden illness. and he will not forgive missing her last eight years. after so much sacrifice, we wondered what a man like him thought of america establishing relations with the regime. >> gutierrez ( translated ): i think this is a very interesting, very intelligent and very positive move by the u.s. government. we applaud this and will support it. it is what the people need. even if only some of this is achieved, it will be a substantial leap forward, regardless of the castros. >> pelley: any connection to america, he told us, will inevitably increase pressure for reform.
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are you in favor of the embargo being lifted? >> gutierrez ( translated ): i am against the lifting of the embargo. it is a way to pressure the cuban government to really achieve things for the cuban people and for the world. >> pelley: do you have hope for cuba? >> gutierrez ( translated ): yes, i have great hopes for cuba, as i never have had before. >> pelley: the hope of a relationship dimmed in 1961 when the u.s. took its flag and went home. one of the diplomats closing the embassy then was wayne smith. >> smith: i remember it very well. the cubans, as sort of a farewell, had brought a battalion of women militia members to the embassy to protect us. we didn't need any protection except for dozens and dozens of people trying to get visas before we left. >> pelley: months later, america organized the failed invasion at the bay of pigs. then came the trade embargo that j.f.k. signed after he took
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delivery of 1,200 cuban cigars. wayne smith, who's famous among diplomats for his work on cuba, returned in the carter years in another failed attempt to patch up relations. there are a lot of reasonable americans who argue, "why reward the castros? you're caving in to the castro regime." >> smith: we haven't gained anything in 50 years with this refusal to have a dialogue, embargo, all that. that hasn't gained anything. why keep repeating the same old mistake year after year when it isn't achieving anything? it was time to change, time long ago to change. and, at last, sensibly, we have. >> pelley: you probably know fidel castro about as well as any american. how do you think he's reacting to this? >> smith: i think he's reacting very favorably. they didn't do this against his
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will. >> pelley: smith thinks the embargo should end too. but it won't. only congress can do that. the u.s. treasury will continue to enforce the rules, as orbert davis and mark ingram discovered. >> pelley: you wanted to bring some things to these students? >> ingram: yes. 'cause they have limited resources here. i mean, they have 12 music stands. >> pelley: how many do you need? >> ingram: well, it's a 60-piece orchestra. >> pelley: what else do they lack? >> ingram: reeds. we have one student who's a saxophone player. they're playing reeds from 1970. old, dried-out reeds. you know, paper... >> davis: music paper... >> pelley: did you bring this stuff to them? >> ingram: we weren't able to bring any of this stuff to them. you can't do that. >> pelley: so because of what they call the embargo here, you couldn't bring music paper, you couldn't bring reeds? >> davis: to use, but not to give. >> pelley: you couldn't give it to them? >> davis: no. we're using the music stands but they are ours. >> ingram: we cannot donate
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them. >> pelley: you have to take them back with you? >> davis: yes. >> pelley: you'd like to leave them? >> davis: can we say that? >> ingram: we would love to leave them. yes, we would love to leave them. >> pelley: but the united states treasury will not let you. >> ingram: well, yeah. no, they told us we can't do that. and the cuban government says you can't do that. they can't make extra copies of the sheet music either. >> davis: unfortunately we could not xerox the music because there is no xerox machine. >> pelley: at a university. >> ingram: at a university. >> davis: a university, right. >> ingram: no copy machine. can't afford one. >> pelley: and they can't email it. only five percent of cubans are connected to the world wide web, it's about the lowest percentage on earth. in the new agreement, america added an exception to the embargo, u.s. internet technology. >> james delaurentis: this could be a game changer down the line. >> pelley: jeff delaurentis is america's top diplomat in havana. >> delaurentis: the government here did its best to restrict the flow of information. and they have committed to
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providing more access to the internet to the cuban people in the course of our discussions. >> pelley: delaurentis works in the same building that america abandoned in 'i61. it won't fly the flag as an embassy until next year. but u.s. diplomats have been back since the '70s trying to pry cuba open. for example, castro first permitted cell phones in 2008. and after that, the u.s. brought in tens of thousands of phones and gave them away for free. >> delaurentis: we believe that lighting up the island is gonna make a major change here. >> pelley: lighting up the island in terms of connecting it to the worldwide web? >> delaurentis: yes, yes. >> pelley: darkness has been lifting slowly. raul castro, who took over from his brother, has allowed some small business and real estate ownership. and, last year, he largely lifted the ban on travel. and i wonder now, in this building, how many cubans come to you, looking for visas to the united states?
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>> delaurentis: 500 a day, sometimes more. >> pelley: 500 a day? >> delaurentis: 500 a day. >> pelley: you process 500 cubans a day looking for visas to go to the united states? >> delaurentis: yes, we do. >> pelley: it seems remarkable, when you consider that an entire generation of cubans has been taught their suffering is imposed by america and its embargo. but even that was something most cubans couldn't buy. they're too far from marx, too close to miami. they pirate american t.v. signals, love jazz, baseball is the national pastime, and two million family members live in america. most any cuban will tell you, in a whisper, they're poor because socialism is bankrupt. we were driving through town today and i was struck. i looked up at an apartment building and somebody had hung a cuban flag and an american flag, side by side. i have to imagine on monday somebody would've gotten arrested for that.
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>> delaurentis: yes. i suspect that's probably true. and i suspect we're gonna see more and more of that. >> cbs money watch update sponsored by:. >> good evening. president obama says the u.s. is considering branding north korea a state sponsor of terrorism after the sony hack attack. saudi arabia denies charges it conspired to bring down oil prices to hurt other economies, and a new york indian nation says it plans to open a casino with a wizard of oz theme. cbs news.
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my darling raymond, though you can't be here for the holidays, we'll always be together in my heart. (solo) ♪it's very clear ♪our love is here to stay
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♪not for a year ♪but ever and a day ♪in time the rockies may crumble♪ ♪gibraltar may tumble ♪they're only made of clay ♪but our love is here to stay (duet) ♪it's very clear ♪our love is here to stay ♪not for a year ♪but ever and a day ♪in time the rockies may crumble♪ ♪gibraltar may tumble ♪they're only made of clay ♪but our love is here to stay
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>> stahl: tom coburn, the conservative republican senator from oklahoma, announced earlier this year that he has prostate cancer and will be ending his term two years early. this is an interesting man. he's an obstetrician who has delivered over 4,000 babies. called the "godfather of the tea party," he has been a powerful and effective force against government spending. he opposes gay marriage, he's against abortion rights, and says global warming doesn't exist. and yet, he became one of barack obama's closest friends in congress.
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it may be washington's most unlikely friendship, but it's a lesson that political opposites can work together in highly partisan and dysfunctional times. in this, coburn's farewell interview before leaving the senate at the end of the month, he says some things you may never have heard a conservative republican say about this president of the united states. >> tom coburn: my relationship with barack obama isn't based on my political philosophy or his. >> stahl: what's it based on? >> coburn: it's based on the fact that i think he's a genuinely very smart, nice guy. i just love him as a man. i think he's a neat man. you don't have to be the same to be friends. matter of fact, the interesting friendships are the ones that are divergent. >> stahl: that tom coburn is close to barack obama is seen as a betrayal by many of his fellow republicans, but he doesn't care. >> coburn: i'm proud of our country that we elected barack obama. i mean, it says something about us nationally. you know, it's kind of like crowning your checker when you
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get to the end of your checker board. here's another thing that says america's special-- barack obama, president of the united states. >> stahl: the friendship began in 2005 as freshmen senators, coburn, the conservative obstetrician from muskogee, oklahoma, and obama, the liberal state senator from chicago. they often teamed up to pass important pieces of legislation. >> coburn: it's my pleasure to introduce to you a good friend of mine, since we went through orientation together, senator barack obama. >> barack obama: thank you, tom. >> stahl: last year, "time" magazine named coburn one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and it was president obama who wrote the tribute. and this year, after learning that coburn had cancer, the president spoke about him at a prayer breakfast. >> obama: a great friend of mine who i came into the senate with, senator tom coburn. tom is going through some tough times right now, but i love him dearly, even though we're from different parties. >> stahl: it's interesting that you're friends with the
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president because, i guess people think he doesn't have any friends in the senate. >> coburn: the president hasn't done a great job of reaching out. it's not his personality style. i mean, you know, he's not well suited to be a back slapper, "sit down and let me tell you this dirty story before we get down to business." i mean, he's not one of those kinds of guys. he's a serious guy. >> stahl: and so is coburn. he's also a maverick who is always making someone angry. >> coburn: am i frustrating the senators from new mexico? you bet! >> he has called his colleagues cowards, called majority leader harry reid "a complete a-hole," for which he would later apologize, and says anybody off the street could do a better job than the senators there now. >> coburn: i see them make decisions every day that benefit their career, rather than the country. and that's what's so sickening about washington. to me, it's about our future; it's not about the politicians. and we've switched things around
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where now it's about the politicians and not the future of the country. >> stahl: it seems the public agrees with him-- one poll showed that americans have a higher opinion of witches, the i.r.s., and hemorrhoids than congress. congress's approval rating in the last poll i saw-- 7%. >> coburn: who are the 7% of the people who actually think we do a great job? >> stahl: you have said, "let's get rid of them all and start all over again." >> coburn: if you wanted to fix things, that's what i would do. >> stahl: get rid of everybody? >> coburn: i mean, if i was king tomorrow, that's what i'd do. >> stahl: and if he were king, he would take a meat ax to the federal budget. he has made cutting out fat in government programs his holy grail. >> coburn: actually, i think i'll just tear it up. it's time we stop borrowing money against the future of our kids. >> stahl: his power comes not from creating legislation, but from killing it with procedural roadblocks that have gummed up the works. >> stephen spaulding: i think he is one of the number one champions of gridlock in the u.s. senate.
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>> stahl: stephen spaulding, who focuses on the senate for the political watchdog organization common cause, says senators often have to go to coburn to get their bills released, and that has given him significant power. >> spaulding: he has found every loophole in the senaterulebook that he can to grind things to an absolute halt. >> stahl: he says he does it so the government won't grow out of control? >> spaulding: there's a question there as to whether he has been substituting his judgment for that of the senate, and i think that's what has led to absolute political paralysis in washington. >> stahl: what coburn does is put a "hold" on the legislation, as he did this week on a veteran suicide prevention bill, a hold stops a bill in its tracks and paralyzes the senate. that's how he got his nickname, "dr. no." how many holds have you put on? >> coburn: thousands. >> stahl: thousands? >> coburn: yeah. >> stahl: let me ask you about some of the holds that we've
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come up with. extending unemployment insurance. >> coburn: uh-huh. >> stahl: veterans' benefits. you even held up a bill called the "paralysis bill" to help people in wheelchairs. 13 veterans' groups attacked you when you wouldn't agree on the veterans' benefits. >> coburn: yeah. >> stahl: you're the reason the place has shutdown! >> coburn: no, it isn't. >> stahl: well, all these holds, you're one of the reasons. >> coburn: the holds, there's no debate on those, anyhow. nobody ever knows about them. >> stahl: well, they would pass if you didn't put the holds on them. >> coburn: that's right. and you'd grow the government and our problems would be worse, not better. >> stahl: the thing is, coburn is proud of his contrariness and his refusal to go along. he got his values growing up in muskogee, oklahoma, where he says he had a happy childhood. it's a church-going, middle- america kind of town where he was taught to be independent and not waste money. he still lives there on a 40- acre farm. >> coburn: i got three stalls out there for horses and it's got a big hay loft in it.
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>> stahl: he and his wife carolyn, a former miss oklahoma, raised their three daughters here, one a nationally known opera singer. >> carolyn coburn: we've known each other since the first grade. by third grade, i was on his list of girlfriends. >> stahl: how many did he have? >> carolyn coburn: three! i was the last. >> coburn: she's telling the story. >> carolyn coburn: i remember the list-- dun, sara, ditten. >> stahl: the biggest influence on tom coburn's life was his father. after graduating college, he went to work for his dad in the family optical business. you told me in washington that your father was an alcoholic. >> coburn: uh-huh. >> stahl: now, that can't be easy when you say that you had a happy childhood. >> coburn: well, it doesn't take away from the great things that my dad did. >> stahl: did it change you... did it... is it kind of a key to you? >> coburn: mmm, i don't know.
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>> stahl: but why is it welling up like this? >> coburn: i think clinically, if i were to analyze it, probably didn't do good grieving. >> carolyn coburn: we could spend about a week grieving over all the things we've missed grieving over. that'll be a fun week. >> stahl: at the age of 31, coburn left his father's business and went to medical school. after practicing as an obstetrician for 11 years... >> carolyn coburn: one day, he came home and said, "i'm going to run for congress." i said, "congress of what?" >> stahl: do you know anything about politics at this point in your life? >> coburn: no. >> stahl: at their favorite barbecue restaurant in town, he told us being a doctor didn't hurt in his first campaign in 1994 for the house of representatives. >> coburn: you deliver 2,000 babies or better... 3,000 by that time, and that's, you know, at minimum, three people each. and then, if you take grandparents, or grandparents of
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siblings and aunts and uncles, you know, you get a 100,000 votes out of that. ( laughs ) >> stahl: after three terms in the house, he returned to muskogee and continued to deliver babies until 2004 when he won a senate seat. one of the first things he did-- true to form-- was pick a fight with the late republican senator ted stevens, who had been the chairman of the appropriations committee. stevens wanted to build a bridge project in his home state of alaska. >> coburn: we're going to put $456 million to go to an island of 50 people? you know, i ask... >> stahl: the "bridge to nowhere," right? >> coburn: the "bridge to nowhere." ( laughs ) and... and this is right after katrina happened. and so i offer an amendment to take that money from alaska and repair the stuff in louisiana. >> ted stevens: so i have been asked several times today, will i agree to this version or that version of senator from oklahoma's amendment? no. >> coburn: i lost that. but i won that. i absolutely won that because the american people saw that and they said, "wow."
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>> stahl: but what happened to you? they really came after you over that. you were still practicing medicine. >> coburn: yeah, they... they... >> stahl: you were still delivering babies. >> coburn: they took that away. >> stahl: they took that away. >> stahl: the senate ruled that it was a conflict of interest to be a senator and practice medicine on weekends, and made him stop. >> coburn: there were several people that i really irritated with this bridge to nowhere. and they happen to sit on the ethics committee, you know. >> stahl: they shut you down? >> coburn: they whacked me pretty good. >> stahl: he says he was persona non grata with his republican colleagues. but he did have his alliance with the senator from illinois. >> obama: i've had the pleasure of working with senator coburn on a range of issues, but i can't think of one that's more important and more timely. >> coburn: the one thing we did is we got our staffs together and said, "we want to do some things together, find the areas you think that we can work together. and let's do them." and so we did.
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>> stahl: you wrote bills together? >> coburn: uh-huh. and got them passed. >> stahl: you got them passed? >> coburn: and got... and got them signed. we did a lot of stuff on lowering the rates on student loans, and re-calculating all that to save a lot of people a lot of money in the future going forward. >> stahl: they did that and more together, despite their many philosophical differences on global warming and all the social issues. but none of that has disrupted their friendship. >> coburn: i've told him, "don't let the s.o.b.s get you down," when he's been getting... i'll call him up and say, "hey, i'm pulling for you," you know. >> stahl: what's funny is that he himself has been one of the s.o.b.s, railing at the president when he disagrees, say, on health care or immigration. >> obama: i keep praying that god will show him the light and he will vote with me once in a while. ( laughter ) it's going to happen, tom. >> stahl: but now, tom is retiring, as he moves on to a new battle with an advanced case of prostate cancer.
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now, did you have to take chemo and radiation and all...? >> coburn: yeah, i'm in the midst of that right now. >> stahl: look at you, you're totally energetic. it's not sapping you of... >> coburn: well, it will eventually, you know. yeah. >> stahl: will you lose your hair? >> coburn: maybe. >> carolyn coburn: oh. oh. ( laughter ) >> coburn: i got bill clinton hair, don't i? >> stahl: i know. >> coburn: everybody is going to die from something. and so the deal is how to use each day to move things forward for both you and the people you love and the country you love. >> stahl: earlier this month, coburn delivered an emotional farewell speech to his senate colleagues whom he has served with, and occasionally blasted over the last ten years. >> coburn: and a thank you to each of you for the privilege of having been able to work for a better country for us all. i yield the floor.
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( applause ) >> welcome to the cbs sports update presented by pacific life. i'm james brown with scores from around the nfl today. pittsburgh and green bay clinched playoff berths while new england locks up a first-round bye. dallas clinches the n.f.c. east, eliminating philly from the postseason and securing a playoff spot for seattle. land that knocks new orleans out of the playoff, setting up a winner-take-all in the n.f.c. south next week against carolina, which beat cleveland. more more sports news and information go, to cbssports.com. you want your future to look like. for more than 145 years, pacific life has been providing solutions to help individuals like you achieve long-term financial security.
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>> rose: laura jeanne reese witherspoon started making movies when she was 14. ten years later, she broke into the elite group of "highest- paid" actresses in hollywood. and at 29, she won an oscar for best actress. but her career floundered when she couldn't get the roles she wanted, and so she did something unusual.
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she started making the movies herself. and it has paid off handsomely. today, at 38, she's successfully produced two of the most talked about movies of the year-- "gone girl" and "wild." she also stars in "wild." both are about flawed, dynamic women, and both are getting oscar attention. a lot of people think of reese witherspoon as southern, blond, friendly, cute. >> witherspoon: i'll take all four of those. ( laughter ) those are all good. >> rose: "america's sweetheart." >> witherspoon: that's the one that confuses me, because i feel like i've done such a range of different roles.
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some are... some are sweet, for sure, but all of them have a ferocity of spirit. hi, my name is elle woods. >> rose: spirit is what her character, elle woods, had in "legally blonde." >> witherspoon: i'm going to tell all of you at harvard why i'm going to make an amazing lawyer. >> rose: witherspoon played a perky harvard law student who became an unlikely modern feminist. and the film became an international box office hit. four years later, in "walk the line," she portrayed june carter cash, and won every major award, including the oscar. >> witherspoon: let's go, times a-wasting. >> rose: yet, despite that, she was offered roles as wife, girlfriend, and sidekick, all of which frustrated her. is the image of you changing? >> witherspoon: yeah. and i'm... i'm ready for a change. i'm definitely ready. i remember a few years ago, i was asked to do an interview for "60 minutes." i was too scared. ( laughs ) >> rose: you said no. >> witherspoon: i didn't know what to say. and... and now, when i was approached, i was just... i felt like, "no, yeah, this... this makes sense.
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i have something to say now." oh, my god! what have i done? >> rose: she says it through her new film, "wild." >> witherspoon: you got to be kidding me. >> rose: she plays a broken woman seeking to reclaim her life by hiking a punishing 1,100 miles alone on the pacific crest trail. >> witherspoon: hey, where am i? >> rose: it is based on the brutally honest best-selling memoir by cheryl strayed. >> witherspoon: i wouldn't do a single thing differently. what if all those things i did were the things that got me here? that is about grief and loss and self-harm, and how we have to choose to save ourselves. >> rose: in the movie, she shows how cheryl reacted to her beloved mother's early death. she became self-destructive: destroyed her marriage, took drugs, and had random sex with anonymous men. >> witherspoon: i don't think i've ever in my life had to do scenes that were so exposing and raw. >> rose: so what are you calling on in yourself to make those scenes so real? >> witherspoon: well, i mean, a lot of my own personal life experience. i mean, i've certainly had relationships that didn't work out that were devastating, you
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know? >> rose: so you've known unhappiness, you've known... >> witherspoon: yeah. i've known grief. i've known loss. i've known saying goodbye to people that i loved. >> rose: reese surprised us when she revealed that her mother, like her character in the movie, had lost her mother when she was very young. and reese relived her mother's grief in preparing for the role. >> witherspoon: i miss you. god, i miss you. >> rose: there's a scene at the end of the movie where you're... cheryl falls to her knees and she says, "i miss you. god, i miss you." >> witherspoon: yeah. >> rose: what's that? >> witherspoon: that's probably my mother. my mother's mother died when she was 20. i didn't understand, as a little
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girl, why she was crying. and she would say, "i miss my mom." and i held her grief in my body. i didn't even realize i held her grief for her for so long. then, when my mom saw the film, she said to me, "i know that you saw me. because that's my story." and she's a beautiful, amazing woman. she's definitely become the woman that her mother wanted her to be. and i'm named after my grandmother. i hope i make movies that make them laugh, and i hope i make movies that make them feel proud of how strong they are. >> rose: there's a tradition of strong women in the south. >> witherspoon: oh, sure. there's strong women everywhere, charlie. ( laughs ) i go all over the world... >> rose: it's... absolutely. it's all over the world. >> witherspoon: ...and people say to me, "why don't you know. you don't ever seem to play, like, weak characters." i said, "i don't know any weak women. >> reporter: reese grew up in nashville. her father was a doctor, her mother a nurse. no one encouraged her to be an actor; they wanted her to go into medicine.
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>> witherspoon: oh, and some junk. >> rose: you study over there. >> witherspoon: wait. some junk. >> rose: oh, my god. >> witherspoon: that's our old mailbox and my mother's old mailbox. >> rose: in order to be close to her mother, she is renovating a new home in nashville. >> witherspoon: it's great, isn't it? >> rose: oh, yeah. this is great. >> witherspoon: you have to have vision, charlie. >> rose: it's perfect for you. there she is. >> witherspoon: this is my mom, charlie. >> rose: and while she was showing it to us, her mother stopped by. when you saw the movie, what did you see? >> betty witherspoon: it just tore me apart. >> rose: because? >> betty witherspoon: it was my story. >> rose: it was your story? >> betty witherspoon: and i lost my mother, then i named my baby after my mother. this is my baby. this is the baby. >> rose: this is? >> betty witherspoon: uh-huh. >> rose: her baby started taking acting lessons at seven. at 14, reese went to an open audition downtown for a major motion picture. she stunned everyone when she won the starring role in "man in the moon."
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>> witherspoon: i'm not a little girl. i'm 14. >> my goodness. >> witherspoon: you're not much older. 16? >> i'm 17. >> witherspoon: my goodness. >> rose: she played an innocent but feisty tomboy who falls in love for the first time. >> witherspoon: i just loved making movies. i was just...and my mother had to stand in front of me and say, "you are going to high school. you are not going to do this movie thing. you know, you're going to have a real job." >> rose: instead of going to hollywood, her parents insisted she go to harpeth hall, a prep school nearby. she was an excellent student who loved reading. and she told us, the school left an indelible impression. tell me about harpeth. >> witherspoon: well, it's an all-girls school, which i... i really enjoyed. >> rose: why? >> witherspoon: it was just a place that you did not... you
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weren't distracted by boys, and i was boy crazy. ( laughter ) i was boy crazy when i was a teenager. >> rose: even then? >> witherspoon: even then, charlie. no, but... that and it just... it had a great focus on, you know, feminism and that we could accomplish anything we wanted to. >> rose: what she really wanted was to be an actress. >> witherspoon: that's the phone. ( laughs ) >> rose: this is the phone where you called your boyfriends. >> witherspoon: where i used to call my boyfriends. >> rose: it was also how she communicated with her agent. throughout high school, she made movies in the summer. >> witherspoon: i also used to call my agent on this phone. >> rose: so, you went from boyfriend to agent? >> witherspoon: well, if... if he sent me a script, i'd have to call him during l.a. time, so i'd come down here and i'd be like, "tell mr. wert that i'll be back in class in just a second." and i would be like, "i read this script and i'm not going to do it. okay, thanks. bye." >> rose: she did well enough at harpeth hall to be accepted by stanford, but dropped out after a year and moved to hollywood. there, she successfully made the transition from child actor to movie star. and by age 23, she was married to actor ryan phillippe and had started a family.
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at 29, she had a series of box offices hits and an oscar. reese witherspoon was at the peak of her career. so, the hollywood community says, "here's an oscar big moment? big moment. >> witherspoon: yeah. >> rose: what follows? >> witherspoon: ( sighs ) that was a tough year that followed. >> rose: what's tough? >> witherspoon: i got divorced the next year, and i spent, you know, a few years just trying to feel better. you know, you can't really be very creative when you feel like your brain is scrambled eggs. >> rose: feel like you failed in your personal life. >> witherspoon: yeah, and then i was just kind of floundering career-wise, because i wasn't making things i was passionate about. i was just kind of working, you know. and it was really clear that audiences weren't responding to anything i was putting out there. >> rose: there's a story that you read "new yorker" magazine. >> witherspoon: yeah. oh, lord. ( laughs ) >> rose: and there was a list of people who were no longer "box-
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office magic." >> witherspoon: yeah. i was one of them. ( laughs ) i thought i was reading, like, a profile on another actor. then, somewhere down at the end, it said, you know, "the people who are washed up. and i think it included me, tom hanks, mel gibson. and i remember just being like, "okay." that just... i mean, it really hurt my feelings. really hurt my feelings. >> rose: and your self-esteem. >> witherspoon: and my self- esteem. and made me feel like i contributed nothing, and that you're only as good as your last movie. which is a pretty crummy feeling for an actor, but it's also a great motivator. >> rose: three years ago, witherspoon decided to make her own movies. she and seasoned producer bruna papandrea put up the money to start a production company. called pacific standard, it focuses on projects that feature interesting, complicated women in leading roles.
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but yours is a lean and mean company. i mean, you guys figure out a way that you can get it done by total involvement yourself. >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: choosing the writer, choosing the director, choosing the material. yes? >> witherspoon: yeah, we make all the phone calls. she does all the budgets. ( laughter ) she looks at the budgets, goes over everything. >> bruna papandrea: we are ultimately the two decision makers. >> rose: their first two decisions have been right on the money. "gone girl" has brought in nearly $350 million at the box office, so far. "wild," which opens nationwide this week, has gotten strong reviews. both movies are based on books they optioned before publication. >> witherspoon: i think right when "gone girl" and "wild" were both number one on the "new york times" best seller list at the same time, i think that's when people started going, "whoa." >> rose: whoa. >> witherspoon: "what are they... how did they get...?" and people started calling us and like, "wait, how did do you guys get that book?" ( laughter ) >> papandrea: shocked. >> witherspoon: because we're not the big powerhouse. but we read and read and read and read. >> rose: you know, it says
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hollywood is a boy's club, in part, that more of these films aren't being made, yes? >> papandrea: yes, 100%. >> rose: is it cracking? >> papandrea: yes, maybe a little bit, yeah. the thing that that really needs to change is this idea that "wild," for instance, a movie about a woman who goes on a hike, is not just a movie for women. you know, they would not put that label on it if it was a man who was taking that hike. they would assume that women would want to go see that movie, as well. but they do put the label on it. and i think that's really the big thing that we're trying to break down. >> rose: their fledgling production company is off to a good start. it has 16 television and movie projects in development. >> witherspoon: i'm at a point in my life, it's like, i can make... i can make 20 more movies. but i want to make 20 more movies that matter to me. i just don't want to just do anything. >> rose: and at long last, you feel in control. >> witherspoon: yeah. yeah, definitely. and i feel like my perspective matters, for the first time. >> rose: and if you succeed that it will change hollywood. >> witherspoon: i hope so. i think it's time.
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i think it's time that we start seeing women for how complex they really are. i want to see those movies. >> charlie rose takes a hike with reese witherspoon. go to 60minutesovertime.com sponsored by pfizer. bro d prote? what if one push up could prevent heart disease? one. wishful thinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease- pneumococcal pneumonia. one dose of the prevnar 13 ® vaccine can help protect you ... from pneumococcal pneumonia, an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. prevnar 13 is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. you should not receive prevnar 13 if you've had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients.
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>> stahl: a new day has begun in cuban-american relations, as we saw earlier from scott pelley. and the events this past week may finally answer a question first raised by our late cbs news colleague, edward r. murrow, in 1959. that's when murrow interviewed a 32-year-old fidel castro, just a month after castro took power in cuba. fidel wore pajamas, murrow wore a suit. both spoke english. >> edward murrow: do you expect that the tourist travel will be resumed to cuba? >> fidel castro: well, if you help us. for example, united states citizens, i know that they like
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cuba very much. and i see them here very happy... >> stahl: with the restoration of relations with cuba and eased travel restrictions, american tourist travel to the island is one step closer, 56 years after murrow asked. i'm lesley stahl. we'll be back next week with another editionof "60 minutes." i have the worst cold with this runny nose.
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